Scenes That I Love: Winston Wolfe Says Goodbye In Pulp Fiction


Today is Harvey Keitel’s 81st birthday.

Harvey Keitel is one of those actors who has given so many great performances that it’s difficult to pick which one is his best.  He’s almost always great, even when the film sometimes isn’t.  That said, I’ll always have a lot of affection for the character of Winston Wolfe, the cleaner that Keitel played in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

Keitel doesn’t show up until the final third of Pulp Fiction but once he does, he pretty much takes over the entire film.  For me, though, my favorite Winston Wolfe moment comes at the end of his story, when he says goodbye to John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson and essentially reveals himself to be kind of an old-fashioned, almost dorky (if impeccably dressed) guy.

Happy birthday, Harvey Keitel!

Scenes That I Love: Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction


Today is Christopher Walken’s 77th birthday so it seems appropriate to share a Walken scene that I love.  Without further ado, here is the classic gold watch speech from the 1994 film, Pulp Fiction:

Ranking The Films of Quentin Tarantino


Since Today is Quentin Tarantino’s 57th birthday, I figured this would be a good time to rank the ten films that he’s directed so far!

Please note that I have not included things like Natural Born Killers, True Romance, Four Rooms, Sin City, or those episodes of CSI and ER on the list below.  These are just the feature films that Tarantino has directed.

So, without further ado, for worst to best, here are the ten film of Quentin Tarantino:

10) The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight is one of those films that people either seem to love or hate.  I personally think that it’s the one Tarantino film in which QT truly stepped over the line and became a parody of himself.  From the punishing run time to the lengthy “chapters” that went nowhere to the overwritten dialogue that read more like someone trying to write like Tarantino than Tarantino himself, The Hateful Eight is my least favorite of his films.  For me, the final straw was when — after already having forced audiences to endure two and half hours of this film — Tarantino stopped the action completely for a totally unnecessary flashback that apparently only existed so Tarantino could work in a Zoe Bell cameo.

9) Death Proof (2007)

Oh, Death Proof.  I really liked Death Proof the first time that I saw it but whenever I’ve tried to rewatch it, it’s been a struggle to get through it.  Yes, Kurt Russell is great as Stuntman Mike and, unlike her previously mentioned cameo in The Hateful Eight, Zoe Bell is a welcome addition to Death Proof‘s ensemble.  But oh my God, why doesn’t the film just start in Tennessee?  Why do we have to suffer through all of that crap in Austin?

8) Kill Bill: Volume One (2003)

Now, it may seem like I’m ranking the first volume of Kill Bill fairly low on the list but you have to understand that, as far as I’m concerned, Tarantino has only made two bad films.  Kill Bill: Volume One is an exciting thriller and it not only features Uma Thurman at her best but it also has some of the best and most energetic fight scenes of all time.  If Kill Bill: Volume One seems ranked low, it’s just because it has some truly tough competition to deal with.

 

7) Jackie Brown (1997)

The first time I saw Jackie Brown, I thought it was a bit too slow and I guess I didn’t really “get” it.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to better appreciate this surprisingly low-key and rather sad film.  Jackie Brown features Tarantino in the type of contemplative mood that he wouldn’t really return to until making Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

6) Pulp Fiction (1994)

One of the most influential films ever made, Pulp Fiction was not only the first of Tarantino’s first film to be nominated for an Oscar but it was also his first film to truly establish that his filmography takes place in its own separate, pop culture-centered universe.  If there’s anything that’s keeping Pulp Fiction from being listed higher, it’s the painfully self-indulgent taxi cab conversation between Bruce Willis and Angela Jones and Quentin Tarantino’s own terrible cameo as Jimmy, the casually racist homeowner.  That said, this is still one of the most — if not the most — essential film for the 90s.  If you want to understand that decade, you have to watch Pulp Fiction.

5) Django Unchained (2012)

Despite the fact that it features one of Leonardo Di Caprio’s worst performances (I know I’m the only one who thinks that), Django Unchained is still Tarantino at his most provocative and angry.  After decades of Hollywood films that attempts to explain away the history and legacy of slavery or that suggested that racism could easily be overcome, Tarantino and Django stepped up to say, “Fuck that.”  While the film received a lot of attention for its violence, I think it revealed that Tarantino is an artist with a conscience.  When Christoph Waltz speaks against the evils of slavery, it’s obvious that he’s speaking for Tarantino as well.  In much the same fashion of 12 Years A Slave (which would come out a year later), Django Unchained doesn’t flinch away from showing the horrors of slavery.

4) Inglourious Basterds (2009)

With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino showed how art could be used to fix history’s mistakes.  In reality, many of the leaders of Nazi Germany escaped justice by committing suicide.  In Inglourious Basterds, they get blown away by a group of Jewish soldiers.  The film itself features some of Tarantino’s best set pieces and one of his best casts.  Despite the film’s length, this is also one of the few Tarantino films where there’s not a single scene that you can look at and say, “Well, that could have been cut.”  For once, every minute of the run time is needed to tell the film’s story.  Christoph Waltz became the first actor to win an Oscar for appearing in a Tarantino film.

3) Kill Bill: Volume Two (2004)

The Kill Bill saga concludes in grand fashion in Kill Bill: Volume Two.  For all of the fights and the violence, this film is more about accepting the consequences of your actions.  Uma Thurman and David Carradine give great performances but the heart of the film belongs to poor Michael Madsen, sitting in his trailer and waiting for justice to come and get him.  The scene where Thurman digs herself out of her grave is a justifiable classic and the final confrontation between Carradine and Thurman is Tarantino at his best.

2) Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Tarantino’s debut film is still one of the most exciting and, in it’s way, funniest crime films ever made.  Every line is quotable.  Every performance is perfect.  Every song on the soundtrack is perfectly selected.  Who can forget Harvey Keitel’s incoherent scream of pain as he realizes that he’s been betrayed?  Personally, I just hope Mr. Pink escaped with the diamonds.

 

1) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)

Tarantino’s latest film is also his best, a love letter to the movies and the actors whose legacies live on in his own films.  For all the criticism that the film took for Margot Robbie’s lack of dialogue, her performance as Sharon Tate is the perfect epitome of everyone’s fantasy of what Hollywood was like in the years before the Manson murders made everyone lock their doors.  Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt are perfectly cast as Rick and Cliff and the film’s finale may be bloody but, at the same time, it corrected history in much the same way that Inglorious Basterds did.  By the end of the film, Rick Dalton knows that he’ll probably never be as big of a star as he could have been but at least he’s made some new friends.  He’s been accepted, in much the same way that a somewhat dorky former Hollywood video store clerk was eventually accepted by a film industry that, at first, wasn’t sure what to make of him.

Happy birthday, Quentin Tarantino!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Kurt Russell Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, we wish a happy 69th birthday to the patron saint of all thing that are cool about the movies, the one and only Kurt Russell!

And here to help us do that are:

4 Shots From 4 Films

Used Cars (1980, directed by Robert Zemeckis)

Escape From New York (1981, directed by John Carpenter)

Stargate (1994, directed by Roland Emmerich)

Death Proof (2007, directed by Quentin Tarantino)

Here’s What Lisa Wants To Win At The Oscars


Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019, dir by Quentin Tarantino)

Yesterday, I posted my list of the film and performers that I believe will win Oscars tonight.

Below is a different list.  This is what I wish would win tonight.  These are the nominees that I would vote for if I was a member of the Academy.  Now, to be honest, there were a lot of films and performances that I liked that were not nominated.  My favorite film of 2019 was The Souvenir.  It received zero Oscar nominations.  But, for the purposes of this list, I’ve limited my choice to the actual nominees.

So, here we go:

Best Picture — 1) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood 2) The Irishman 3) Parasite 4) 1917 5) Joker 6) JoJo Rabbit 7) Little Women 8) Ford v Ferrari 9) Marriage Story

Best Director — Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor — Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Best Actress — Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Best Supporting Actor — Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Best Supporting Actress — Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Best Original Screenplay — Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay — The Irishman

Best Animated Feature Film — I Lost My Body

Best International Feature Film — Parasite

Best Documentary Feature Film — The Edge of Democracy (which I didn’t even really like, it’s just the only nominee that I’ve seen)

Best Documentary Short Subject — Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If you’re a girl)

Best Live Action Short Subject — Nefta Football Club (that’s for you, Jason)

Best Animated Short Film — Sister

Best Original Score — 1917

Best Original Song — I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4

Best Sound Editing — 1917

Best Sound Mixing — 1917

Best Production Design — Parasite

Best Cinematography — The Lighthouse

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Judy

Best Costume Design — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Editing — The Irishman

Best Visual Effects — Avengers: Endgame

4 Shots From 4 Films About Hollywood: The Bad and the Beautiful, The Stunt Man, Mulholland Drive, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today’s edition of 4 Shots from 4 Films is dedicated to four of the best films that I’ve ever seen about Hollywood!  I mean, it is Oscar Sunday after all!

4 Shots From 4 Films About Hollywood

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952, dir by Vincente Minnelli)

The Stunt Man (1980, dir by Richard Rush)

Mulholland Drive (2000, dir by David Lynch)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019, dir by Quentin Tarantino)

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For Sunday Night


The Oscars are tomorrow and I guess that means that it’s time for me to post my predictions for what will win at the big ceremony on Sunday night!

So, without further ado:

Best Picture — 1917

Best Director — Sam Mendes for 1917

Best Actor — Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Best Actress — Renee Zellweger in Judy

Best Supporting Actor — Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress — Laura Dern in Marriage Story

Best Original Screenplay — Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Adapted Screenplay — Taika Waititi , JoJo Rabbit

Best Animated Feature Film — Klaus

Best International Feature Film — Parasite

Best Documentary Feature — American Factory

Best Live Action Short Film — Nefta Football Club

Best Animated Short Film — Sister

Best Documentary Short Subject — Learning To Skateboard In A War Zone (If You’re A Girl)

Best Original Score — 1917

Best Original Song — (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman

Best Sound Editing — Ford v Ferrari

Best Sound Mixing — Ford v Ferrari

Best Production Design — Parasite

Best Cinematography — 1917

Best Makeup and Hair Styling — Joker

Best Costume Design — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Editing — Parasite

Best Visual Effects — The Irishman

Here Are The DGA Nominations!


Todd Phillips did not pick up a DGA nomination but fear not Joker fans.  The film did pick a nomination from the PGA.

Uncut Gems has now been snubbed by the SAG, the DGA, and the PGA so I’m going to assume that it’s Oscar chances are pretty much dead.  It was one of my favorite films of the year but, at the same time, I can also understand why some people might not share my feelings.

JoJo Rabbit, on the other hand, has been nominated by the DGA, PGA, and the SAG so it’s definitely a stronger contender than some have been giving it credit for being.

Anyway, here are the 2019 Director’s Guild nominations!

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film

Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director

Mati Diop, Atlantics
Alma Har’el, Honey Boy
Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim
Joe Talbot, The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, The Peanut Butter Falcon

Here Are Your 2019 Golden Globe Winners!


Best Actor, TV Musical or Comedy — Ramy Youssef in Ramy

Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie — Russell Crowe in The Loudest Voice

Best Supporting Actor, Series, Limited Series, or TV Movie — Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl

Best TV Series, Drama — Succession

Best Actress, TV Musical or Comedy — Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Best Foreign Language Film — Parasite

Best Actor, TV Series Drama — Brian Cox, Succession

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture — Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Motion Picture, Animated — Missing Link

Best Supporting Actress, Film — Laura Dern in Marriage Story

Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy — Fleabag

Best Original Song, Motion Picture — “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman

Best Supporting Actress, Series, Limited Series. or TV Movie — Patricia Arquette in The Act

Best Actress, TV Series, Drama — Olivia Colman in The Crown

Best Director, Motion Picture — Sam Mendes, 1917

Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie — Michelle WIlliams in Fosse/Verdon

Best Limited Series or TV Movie — Chernobyl

Best Original Score, Motion Picture — Joker

Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture — Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor, Comedy Motion Picture — Taron Egerton, Rocketman

Best Actress, Comedy, Motion Picture — Awkwafina, The Farewell

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor, Drama, Motion Picture — Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Best Actress, Drama, Motion Picture — Renee Zellweger in Judy

Best Motion Picture, Drama — 1917

 

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions For December


Well, here we go!

This is my last set of Oscar predictions for the year.  With the critics groups and some of the guilds having now announced their picks for the best of 2019, the Oscar picture is now a lot more clear.  Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Parasite, The Irishman, 1917, and Marriage Story all seem to be guaranteed to pick up a nomination.    

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that, despite being ignored at SAG and by the Golden Globes, Uncut Gems will get some nominations as well.  Right now, the film just seems to have momentum on its side.  Realistically, I’m not a 100% convinced that it’ll be nominated, not the way I am with some other films.  It’s divisive film and I’m sure that some people think that rewarding Adam Sandler will just lead to him using his newfound respect to get a theatrical release for the next Grown Ups sequel.  But I’m going to take a chance and go with it.

(Of course, Nightcrawler and Jake Gyllenhaal also had a lot of momentum a few years ago and ended up getting totally shut out of the Oscars.)

Below are my predictions for December.  If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November!

Best Picture

1917

Bombshell

The Irishman

JoJo Rabbit

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Parasite

Uncut Gems

Best Director

Bong Joon-ho for Parasite

Sam Mendes for 1917

The Safdie Brothers for Uncut Gems

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Adam Driver for Marriage Story

Taron Egerton for Rocketman

Joaquin Phoenix for Joker

Adam Sandler for Uncut Gems

Best Actress

Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story

Luptia Nyong’o for Us

Saoirse Ronan for Little Women

Charlize Theron for Bombshell

Renee Zellweger for Judy

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Lighthouse

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Al Pacino for The Irishman

Joe Pesci for The Irishman

Brad Pitt for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern in Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson in JoJo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers

Florence Pugh in Little Women

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 

The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 13th!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Oscar, in happier times